Murdoch bumps up holding in Australian pay-TV firm Foxtel

RUPERT Murdoch tightened his grip on Australia’s media landscape yesterday, winning support for his A$2bn (£1.29bn) takeover of a large investor in Foxtel, the country’s dominant pay-TV network.

Shareholders at Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH) voted in favour of the takeover, which doubles Murdoch’s stake in Foxtel to 50 per cent. The deal also gives News Corp total control over content provider Fox Sports.

The move is a further push from Murdoch to increase his company’s exposure to the pay-TV market as revenues at his newspapers decline. A bid to take control of BSkyB was scuppered last year in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

The Foxtel business will become part of News Corp’s publishing arm when the media giant splits into two later in the year. The publishing operation will also include Murdoch’s newspapers, which include the Sun, the Times and the Wall Street Journal, and the book publishing company HarperCollins.

Foxtel was formed in 1995 as a joint venture between News Corp and Australian telecoms company Telstra, which owns the remaining 50 per cent of the broadcaster.

CMH, whose sole assets were Foxtel and Fox Sports, saw near-unanimous support for the deal.